Grief, friends and Willie Nelson

imageWith grief it’s so easy to be pulled into the negatives. There’s an unforgiving grip of hopelessness, sorrow, self-loathing, rattled confidence, and second guessing yourself. I feel like I’m going crazy because I do not feel like myself. I feel like another person wearing my skin. And I’m surprised how overwhelming this bout of grief has been. I don’t feel like I should be feeling this way anymore. I thought this part was over. But two and a half years after he passed, one hiccup in the fortress caused for a full blown meltdown. I’ve had triggers of grief here and there but this one was bigger and being back here has been exhausting. But I’ve revisited the grief handouts and have been talking to someone and it’s been helping. The first go around those outlets weren’t helpful but this go it has been a life saver.

I am not going crazy. Turns out it’s a very common occurrence to have grief after the first serious relationship since a spouses death. And sometimes the grief is worse than the first time. When I heard this and learned this is common I didn’t feel so alone anymore. It made me feel better knowing others have dealt with this too. I’m having problems controlling my emotions and I’m second guessing my decisions and thinking I’m hurting the people around me which ultimately weighs and makes me feel worse. But I think it’s okay to be a little selfish too.

My friend invited me to see Willie Nelson in Atlanta last night and today I had a recruiting showcase just north of Atlanta so I thought it was perfect. I accepted and there I was front row watching a living legend. It was surreal. Jimmy Carter was there and got up on stage to sing, the night was unbelievable. When these opportunities present themselves and they are just so incredible and memorable, it’s those moments I do believe George is with me and showing me he’s got my back. He keeps an eye on me to assure me I’ll get through this hard time too.

I feel unbelievably unlucky a lot of times, but then there’s moments and experiences where I look around and just think how fortunate I am. It builds me up. And I’m glad for friends and those who put up with my ongoing emotional state and still smile and tell me they enjoy being around me. Because there’s so many days recently where I’ve wanted to be someone else again.

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This one song

I feel like a plagiarize other wids and their posts. One just wrote about songs and how they stir up emotions and now I’m about to do the same. Oh well. George and I rarely shared music. We had different tastes and interests in bands and that was fine. Usually he complained on long car trips because I insisted on playing my tunes. If I’m driving, it’s my music. And usually I was driving.

George was a musician and had a lot of opinions when it came to music. Hence why he thought all the bands I liked were lackluster and talentless. Whatever. But I loved when he would play songs for me and just sit around strumming his guitar. When we first moved to Jersey City we didn’t have cable tv or wifi, so one day he just sat around playing his guitar and making songs up about our dog, Bodie. When George died I gave his guitar to his mom to give to his nephew. Just days before he died he said he wrote me a song and tried to sing it to me. It was beautiful and so sweet. Our time together kind of feels like a dream as time separates us.

So today I put on pandora and the first song that came on was an emo song titled Cat and Mouse. It usually makes me cry because it’s about losing someone you love but sometimes that’s the cost you pay for happiness. Then later on in the day I decided to out my iPod on shuffle and again it was the first song that came on! I thought it was so weird. Sometimes these songs are there to force me to feel the pain. That’s one of them. If I’m a real glutton for punishment I play our song, New York City by They Might Be Giants. That one had made it’s way out the rotation. Far too difficult to hear.

Sometimes when things are going well, that one song comes on and the weight of the universe plummets downwards and crushes everything. Cat and Mouse, you’ve had your way with me today.

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This crazy train

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My spirit animal today must be Ozzy Osbourne because I’ve heard crazy train on three different occasions. When George was in high school he was really into Black Sabbath and when Ozzy came out as a solo artist he liked him as well. I watched this Ozzy documentary on Showtime and started really getting into him and George was so excited to revisit the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman with me. I’m pretty sure he was planning on buying me those Tshirts off some vintage online stores because we talked about it up until he was admitted to the hospital on November 15th. Ozzy I accept you as my spirit animal in addition to the lucky cat.

There’s something that comes with grief and that’s social anxiety. Today I mailed out the death certificate to George’s work and while I was at the post office a man complimented me on my eyes. At the time I wasn’t aware he was talking to me until I looked up and a older woman nodded at me. I said thank you but quickly scurried away. I feel so broken on the inside and I think it’s visible on the outside. Im weak and vulnerable and just really keep to my own business. I barely make eye contact with anyone except those I feel comfortable with.

All day I’ve been worrying about a lacrosse clinic I’m doing tomorrow and Sunday up in Boston area. Seeing other coaches who know I was married this year may not know George has died. Ive been thinking about all the questions I’ll get about both the wedding and his death. Every day I build myself up right when I wake, because each day is a challenge. Any little comment that pulls at my soul can destroy me like wind to a house of cards. I’m going to be the only widow there, and I’m making myself mad with worry. The worst part is if I get upset I would call George and he would calm my nerves. But I don’t have him to sooth me. I don’t have him to go home to after a long weekend of recruiting.  I miss hearing about his adventures when I go away for a weekend. He would tell me, “Julia, who cares about them. Worry about yourself because you’re better anyway.” Then he would give me a big kiss and hold my hand. I love him and miss him. Ozzy will see me through this crazy train.

 

The dating game

Moving has brought me a new horror. I’m 28 and this will be the first time in my life I will be living alone. There’s no memories in the new apartment except for the foreign memories from my other apartment. The deep hollow loneliness is a hamartia of moving forward. The worst of it is most of the boxes were wedding gifts that were unopened and needed to be assembled.

One of my work friends came over to help me pack up and transport everything. I think it was his first realization of how horrible it is to lose someone young. Having him in the apartment was difficult for me because I haven’t had any visitors outside my family since George died. I was choking back the tears for a good 65% of the move. But when we were packing he was telling me how he’s back with his ex-girlfriend and some other stuff that goes along with the beginnings of a renewed relationship. At that point, I made the declaration I’m never dating again. He narrowed his brow and pursed his lips. And there it was, the awkward silence.

My bereavement counselor always instructs me to worry about the now, not the future. But I cannot help it. I’m used to feeling loved, to having the comfort of having a companion that I can open up to, and I’m sure as hell used to having someone to hold my hand when watching tv at night and a shoulder to fall asleep on. Of course the future is going to creep into my present thoughts of who is going to want a broken and depressed widow? Even my friends don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with me because my situation and my being makes EVERYONE around me uncomfortable. I had the perfect boyfriend, fiancé and husband in George. Everyday was an adventure and we were excited to continue our journey as husband and wife. But instead it all disintegrated in a matter of weeks. I’m sure eventually I’ll find someone suitable, but I can’t imagine anyone will be as ingenuous as George. It was love at first sight. How can I ever find someone who fits so flawlessly in my life?

In the words of Motion City Soundtrack; The future freaks me out.

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Our first date/weekend together

He wrote me a song

George was many things and one of them was a musician. Before he became corporate with wearing a suit everyday to the office, he reveled his local celebrity status in Chicago as the bassist of two entertaining punk bands. One was a punk polka band and the other was a group with his good friends and were starting to really make a name for themselves. Before Alkaline Trio was headlining shows, they were opening up for George’s band. He always reminded me his band was on the same label as punk royalty, Black Flag.

His passion for music always held strong and he loved going to shows, writing songs, or just strumming on his guitar singing to our dog. His love for music was contagious and whenever he would sing or play a song, I had to drop what I was doing to listen.

On my 27th birthday he wrote me a song and made a music video. How many people can say they had a song written about them? I am so incredibly lucky to have fallen in love with such a wonderful, caring, talented, brave, and handsome man.

The day before he completely stopped talking, George said very staggered, “I wrote you a song. I was going to sing it for you at our wedding but there wasn’t time.” In which I responded, you wrote me a song? He then said slowly, “Do you want me to sing it?” I emphatically nodded, holding back the tears saying yes. He then began to try to sing the song to me.  I couldn’t really understand it, but it instantly became my favorite song. And I told him that. My goodness, he was the sweetest soul. On earth we lost an exceptionally great person. But somewhere beyond, they gained one.

Gusty return

The polar vortex is descending on NYC right now and the wind is deafening. High pitched whistles are endlessly swirling outside my window as I write this.

My 3 week hiatus of being away from the apartment has come to an end. I returned to work today and I proudly can say I kept my door open for the majority of the time I was in the office. There was only one point where my grief crept in and I couldn’t swallow it any longer. My dog knew I was sad, and he pawed his way to my lap and we just sat there for a half hour or so keeping each other company. He’s a sweet dog and a great companion for me. Usually he just wants to run around and say hi to the other coaches in the office.

When I came home to the apartment, I felt incredibly empty inside. I began reading the posts on YWBB.org to see if anyone else had experienced this overwhelming emptiness and I became distracted after a message I received from a friend about how they were thinking of me and hoping everything was okay. The mental state I was in at this point has been classified by the DSM V as “losing your shit.” I unwound quickly. The more I tried to keep it together, the quicker I unravelled. To be more productive than sitting on the couch sniffling, I started peeling potatoes and I sliced my finger pretty good. While tending to the wound, I started thinking about moving forward. Living life without George. And I quickly questioned, how is someone supposed to live when they feel dead inside? My heart is more than broken at this point. My heart has turned to rocks; Cold, hard, and inanimate. And the wooing gusts outside are mocking me. Joyfully rushing between buildings, stirring up a harmony of howls. I really wish I weren’t alone tonight.

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